Axios Tampa Bay

Picture of the Tampa Bay skyline with TPA written across it.

Welcome back. It's Tuesday!

🌞 Mostly sunny, with some light winds. 64/42.

Today's newsletter is 876 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: A deadly county for cyclists and walkers

Illustration of a pattern of cars with one highlighted.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Tampa Bay area is notoriously unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists, but 2021 was particularly brutal in Pinellas County.

What's happening: Bicycle and pedestrian fatalities in Pinellas nearly doubled last year, even though rates didn't change much in other Tampa Bay counties, statewide or nationally, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

  • In 2021, 85 cyclists and pedestrians died in Pinellas — a 15-year record, up from 49 in 2020 and from an annual average of 51 deaths over the last five years.

Behind the numbers: Whit Blanton, executive director of Pinellas' land use and transportation planning agency, Forward Pinellas, told the Times long stretches of roadway between crosswalks, poor lighting and, in low-income areas, higher numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists were all factors in the high accident rate.

  • This year's spike could also be attributed to changes in peak driving times due to the pandemic.

Possible solutions: A Florida Department of Transportation lighting program could help those riding in the dark, but the fixes aren't expected until 2023.

  • When the county death rate hit 25, St. Petersburg police sent as many as 15 officers at once to areas prone to speeding and crashes.

What they're saying: Adding pedestrian and cyclist-friendly elements to roads could help, Blanton told the Times, but getting those measures approved isn't easy when they also slow down traffic.

  • "(Drivers) get pretty angry at you if you want to take away a lane," Blanton told the Times.

2. Up next for the Bucs

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Ryan Kerrigan (90) stops Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Ryan Kerrigan stops Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Giovani Bernard during the second half Sunday. Photo: Mark LoMoglio/AP

With running backs Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones both hurt, backups Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Giovani Bernard combined for 145 total yards as the Bucs trounced the Eagles 35-15 on Sunday.

🏈 What's next: The Bucs host the Rams at 3pm Sunday.

📓 Divisional round scouting report: The Rams beat the Bucs 34-24 in Week 3 behind a four-touchdown game from quarterback Matthew Stafford. But while they won a strong NFC West and walloped the Cardinals last night, Los Angeles was embarrassed by the Titans, 49ers and Packers during the regular season.

3. Manatees aren't eating the lettuce

In a Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016 file photo, manatees crowd into 72-degree springs, seeking warmth from cold Gulf temperatures, at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River Fla.
Manatees crowd into Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River. Photo: Tamara Lush/AP

A pilot feeding program to save manatees from starvation has started, but the big lunks seem to be refusing to eat the floating lettuce so far, per the Sun-Sentinel.

What happened: Pollution from fertilizer, farms, septic tanks and Lake Okeechobee discharges has killed seagrass beds in the Indian River Lagoon, where lots of manatees winter.

What they're saying: "We have not documented animals foraging on the lettuce," Ron Mezich, imperiled species management section leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said in a conference call. "I will say we are not present at all locations at all times to verify that."

  • "We do come back at times, and not everything we provided is there, but we have not documented any animals [eating] it."

Yes, but: Wildlife officials expressed optimism that the feeding program will work as cold weather drives the marine mammals toward warmer waters, the AP reports.

  • This winter has been mild, so the animals have been more dispersed.

4. The Pulp: Maybe he's ripe, maybe I'm wrong

Illustration of an orange, instead of a sun, shining over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

💰 Palmetto will have more help developing its historic Main Street now that its has joined the Florida Main Street program. (Bradenton Herald)

🏡 A home in Sarasota's Rosemary District will be relocated and transformed into an African American cultural arts center and history museum. (Fox 13)

🌪 A tornado that touched down in Charlotte County on Sunday damaged about 40 homes, but no injuries or deaths were reported. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

Quote du jour:
Many ppl DO NOT AGREE WITH 36 EXECUTIVES that support a split concept with Montreal. I will save lots of cash as my season tickets for ⁦@RaysBaseball will be over.
— Legendary sportscaster and Sarasota resident Dick Vitale on Twitter, responding to a controversial letter in the Tampa Bay Times supporting the split-city plan, per Creative Loafing.

5. Mapped: Metros rising

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Chart: Danielle Alberti, Jacque Schrag and Baidi Wang/Axios

Tampa Bay is among a handful of metro areas that grew jobs during the pandemic, according to data from the New York Fed.

By the numbers: Of the biggest 100 metro areas, 88 had fewer jobs last October than before the pandemic.

  • Losers include Honolulu, Buffalo and New York City.

Full report

New jobs to check out

⚽️ Get the ball rolling. Check out these openings from our Job Board.

  1. Digital Content Editor/Writer at the University of Tampa.
  2. Senior IT Administrator at Venuetize.
  3. VP of Sales at Trellance.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Post a job.

6. Pics du jour: Tampa's MLK celebrations

Spectators line the street during Tampa's Martin Luther King Day Parade.
Photo: Gianna Settimi/Axios

Above, spectators line the street during Tampa's Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade.

  • Below, a child sits on a car to see the parade.
A boy sits on a car during Tampa's Martin Luther King Day Parade.
Photo: Gianna Settimi/Axios

7. 1 big congrats to go

A bird chirps from a plant.
Photo: Carlton Ward Jr./Path of the Panther

Florida conservationist and wildlife photographer Carlton Ward Jr. has been named a 2022 honorary member of the Garden Clubs of America, becoming just the sixth Floridian to be extended this honor in the 105 years since the Garden Club of America began awarding honorary memberships.

  • In 2010, Ward founded the Florida Wildlife Corridor project to connect all of Florida’s national and state parks with tracts of open land from the Panhandle to the Keys.
  • Gov. Ron DeSantis then signed the Florida Wildlife Corridor bill into law last year.

What they're saying: "An eighth-generation Floridian descended from a pioneer ranching family, Mr. Ward's photographs show how farmers and ranchers are part of the solution, protecting biodiversity and wildlife corridors," the club said in a statement.

Carlton Ward Jr.
Carlton Ward Jr. Photo courtesy of Veronica Runge

📖 Ben is reading Maggie Jones in the New York Times Magazine on the joys and challenges of sex after 70. 🧓

🇬🇧 Selene is watching "Drag Race UK" in anticipation of "UK vs. The World." 🌎

If you won't eat the lettuce, will you at least subscribe?